KARACHI: A sit-in at Numaish Chowrangi held by the families of those who died in the Shikarpur imambargah blast was called off after successful negotiations with the Sindh government on Thursday.
Shia clerics went to the chief minister (CM) with a list of 22 demands, including a military operation in Shikarpur and taking action against madrassas harbouring militants. Addressing a joint press conference, Shikarpur Shuhada Committee’s Allama Maqsoob Domki and CM Qaim Ali Shah announced that the provincial government will refer the case to a military court and a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) will be formed to look into the incident.
“An operation under the supervision of an apex committee will be conducted by the police and Rangers against banned organisations,” said Shah. “Operations will also be conducted against extremist elements who run seminaries and religious institutions to incite violence in Shikarpur and others districts of the province.”
The press conference was held after a meeting between leaders of the Shuhada committee and the Sindh government at Chief Minister House.
Sindh Information and Local Bodies Minister Sharjeel Memon said that the names of the suspects identified by the Shuhada committee will be included in the FIR. He added that the government will issue weapons licences to imambargahs and Shia institutions as an extra security measure.
When Domki diverted the CM’s attention to some groups encroaching on government properties and exploiting them, Shah said that the government will take action against them and make them leave the land.
“Some banned organisations have started operating in Sindh,” said the CM. “They are involved in target killings and other criminal activities. The provincial government has decided to crackdown against them. We will also remove their banners, posters, flags and wall-chalking.” They also decided to name a roundabout in Shikarpur as ‘Shuhada-e-Karbala’.
“We have also decided to give government jobs to a family member those who lost their lives in the Shikarpur incident,” said the CM. “Those who were injured will be accommodated in the five per cent quota for disabled persons.”
Domki claimed that the protest was not against the Sindh government but against terrorism.
During the meeting which was held before the press conference, a delegation from the Shuhada committee put forward another demand — to ban a television channel that they claim is spreading hate.
The chief minister assured them that the provincial government will write to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to lodge a complaint against the TV channel. They also decided to take action against suspected militants hailing from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2015.